Nene Park stadium to be demolished
A football stadium which was home to Rushden & Diamonds as well as Kettering Town looks set for demolition.
The owners of Nene Park have submitted an application for prior notification of the proposed demolition of the stadium in Station Road, Irthlingborough.
It says they want to demolish the stadium due to its ‘dangerous condition as a major fire risk and derelict condition.’
A spokesman for East Northants Council confirmed they had received the notification and its officers are now looking at it to check everything is in order for the demolition to go ahead.
Documents submitted to the council state: “The building is in a dangerous condition and is unsafe.
“The stadium represents a major fire risk.
“The site is derelict and subject to wanton damage.”
When asked for details of the proposed restoration of the site, the documents say: “The site will be the subject of a separate planning application.
“A fixed hoarding will secure the site.”
A statement outlining the proposed method of demolition has also been sent to the council.
The council spokesman said: “East Northamptonshire Council does not own the land or the stadium known as Nene Park.
“We have received the prior notification application from the owners of Nene Park for the demolition of the stadium.
“This is covered by The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, which lists at Schedule 2 permitted development rights.
“Part 11, Class B of that schedule (page 90) permits ‘Any building operation consisting of the demolition of a building without planning permission (where it is not listed), our role is limited to giving a ‘determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the method of demolition and any proposed restoration of the site.’
“The application cannot be called in to committee.”
The ground was built in the 1960s and for many years was the home of Irthlingborough Diamonds until the early 1990s when the Diamonds merged with Rushden Town.
Rushden Town left their former home at Hayden Road following the merger.
Nene Park was redeveloped after the merger and the off-pitch changes mirrored success on the pitch, as Rushden and Diamonds climbed the leagues and won promotion to the Football League in 2001, where they remained for several seasons.
The club also reached the third round of the FA Cup twice, once hosting Leeds United at Nene Park where they drew 0-0 in front of a record crowd of more than 6,000, before losing out in the replay at Elland Road.
After Rushden and Diamonds were expelled from the Conference in 2011, the ground continued to host non-league football for another 18 months when Kettering Town temporarily moved in.
More recently the site has been the subject of several applications for redevelopment, including an application by Conalgen Enterprises SA to demolish the existing football stadium and associated infrastructure and build a new retail and leisure development including retail, cinema, hotel, restaurants and new community football facility along with access and parking.
Following news of the proposed demolition, AFC Rushden & Diamonds has issued a statement on its website.
It says: “AFC Rushden & Diamonds are extremely saddened at the recent news of the planned demolition of Nene Park.
“The stadium holds many great memories for everyone connected with the club; memories which cannot be erased by its demolition.
“However, AFC Rushden & Diamonds has proved since its formation that it is the supporters, members and volunteers who are the heart and soul of our club, not the ground in which the team plays.
“Since 2011, we have been working constantly to find a new home for AFC Rushden & Diamonds, and we will continue to do so.
“Recently, we have been in discussions with East Northamptonshire District Council and are working in conjunction with them to find a new permanent home in the Rushden, Higham and Irthlingborough area for AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
“With ENDC’s help, we hope to identify a new site upon which a new, sustainable home for the club can be built, to allow AFC Rushden & Diamonds to continue to create great football memories for years to come.”